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SanDisk sans Fuse MP3 Player

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With the world going crazy over Apple, can SanDisk offer a respite in the form of Sansa Fuze? We plugged in the 4GB Furze to find out.

From a design standpoint, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Fuze wasn’t all that different from Apple’s iPod nano, which this player directly takes on. We put it down to a form factor that works: a simple display and controller for volume, track selection, menu navigation, and so on.

However, the Sans Fuze doesn’t take the minimalist approach; while it has clean, slick lines, it has harder buttons: it has a ‘home’ button and a combined power key and slider as well. The power slider is very welcome, because it’s a positive method of turning the device on and off, as opposed to the iPod’s occasionally iffy press-and-hold technique.

The back of the Fuze has a rubbery texture,

so it feels good in the hand, while the front is glossy – in the case of our review unit, black – which attracts fingerprints, but looks very Elegant. The center wheel (I’m trying not to call it a click wheel) has a nice positive feel, allowing you to simply and easily select the option you want.

Lurking unobtrusively on the side of the Fuze is the part that makes us feel a bit weak in the knees, for its sheer simplicity. Yes, a microSD card slot. The idea here, SanDisk says, is to provide a new way to organize your pagalworld and manage your player. Of course, it means you can expand your 4GB player with an 8GB microSD card, and since SDHC is supported, you’ll be able to add larger cards in the future, so suddenly the price looks very attractive.

SanDisk notes that you may not even want to use the internal memory,

you can just use the microSD card and then move it from one device to another. Refreshing, don’t you think?

When you insert a card, the album updates quickly and you see all your files together, there is no differentiation between internal and external memory, so it’s a seamless integration. While this is nice for those who just want to expand capacity, it does mean that if you plug in someone else’s card to listen to a particular song, you’ll have to navigate to that song from scratch.

The Fuze supports multiple formats, MP3,

WMA, Secure WMA, WAV, Audible, and MP4. Windows users will find themselves using Windows Media Player by default, so it’s worth considering WMP’s shortcomings in managing your however you can navigate through the device and do things manually if you wish, as well as using other music management programs. .



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